RADIUS hosts Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation BC

May 20, 2015

From left to right: Maggie Knight, Operations Manager, RADIUS; Michelle Stilwell, Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation for British Columbia; Blaize Reich, Dean of the Beedie School of Business; Donovan Woollard, Director, RADIUS Ventures; and Shawn Smith, Director, RADIUS.

Michelle Stilwell, Minister for Social Development and Social Innovation for British Columbia, received an overview of the numerous social innovation activities at Simon Fraser University, as she visited RADIUS, the Beedie School of Business’ social innovation lab and venture incubator.

During her tour of the RADIUS offices on May 13, Minister Stilwell was presented with a breakdown of the programs RADIUS offers – such as RADIUS Ventures – and met recently graduated venture, Life Space Projects, a self-watering garden that allows users to easily grow organic vegetables within restricted urban spaces.

Minister Stillwell was treated to a demonstration of one of the Life Space products by co-founder Wesley Hooper. Hooper explained the merits of the product, which is built from recovered cedar wood, has a food-safe, waterproof lining that ensures the wood does not decay for a sustainable period of time, and ensures plants only need to be watered once every 21 days.

As well, she met with some of the participants in the RADIUS Fellowship program for emerging impact leaders in BC, and learned about social entrepreneurship community building events such as the Failure Wake, a story telling evening that celebrates the entrepreneurs whose ventures dared greatly but ultimately failed.

The visit was part of a tour of Vancouver’s social innovation hubs for Minister Stilwell, during which she also visited social enterprises such as Potluck Café, HAVE Café, Sole Food, and Embers, among others.

“I appreciated the opportunity to meet with staff at Radius to see firsthand the work that is going on to build the social enterprise sector here in British Columbia,” said Minister Stilwell. “They are a key partner with us in our efforts to develop and expand the sector. Having a chance to share in their knowledge was the perfect start to my day-long tour of social enterprises in Vancouver.”

The tour continued the Ministry’s relationship with RADIUS, which has thus far seen them partner for an event during Social Innovation Week Vancouver 2014.

As well, the Ministry has provided funding for two upcoming RADIUS events: ReSchool, a two day education innovation conference to be held from May 29 to 30 at SFU’s Surrey campus; and the Cascadia Social Innovation Train Tour, which will see 52 members of the RADIUS community travel by train to establish connections with social innovation hubs in Seattle and Portland.

“It’s wonderful to see Minister Stilwell so actively engaged in BC’s social innovation community,” said Shawn Smith, Director and co-founder of RADIUS. “The Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation has been quite active in supporting the sector – our own work has certainly benefited. BC is a real leader in this regard.”

For more information about RADIUS, visit www.radiussfu.com/

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